This article originally appeared on VICE US.
In the weird world we're now living in, it's the little things that keep us going—like a loaf of bread with four crouched legs, two bulging dough blobs for eyes, and a subtle dimple of a mouth. "Frog bread," which has captivated TikTok and Twitter as the months of quarantine go on, is simultaneously absurd and obvious: there is Frog Internet, and there is Bread Internet, so Frog Bread Internet must follow. It is mildly grotesque, but also aesthetically pleasing. It is simply Frog Bread, a warped and delightful creation of our bored, house-bound minds.
A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet: accompanying a pudgy, amphibian-ish blob of dough, it read, "My younger daughter made frog-shaped bread (no I don’t know why lol)." Finding a quick hit of pleasure in the silly loaf, I retweeted the frog bread, which seemed like a one-off, and forgot about it—until this week when frog bread absolutely took over Twitter.
On Sunday afternoon, a Twitter user named August posted two pictures of her frog bread, later adding a link to a 2005 blog tutorial should anyone else want to follow suit. August, who also has real frogs of her own, first saw the idea on TikTok, where #frogbread has circulated since at least late March. (According to one person, it's similar to the Betawi tradition of crocodile bread in Indonesia.) August wanted to try it though she'd never made bread before. "In retrospect, I should’ve made a simple round loaf for my first attempt but I really wanted to make the frog!!!" she told VICE.
As of this writing, August's tweet has picked up over 16,000 retweets and 122,000 likes, and she thinks the appeal is "part artwork, part food, and maybe part meme with how popular frogs are these days." Beyond the now-scorned Pepe, frogs have had a moment through Evil Kermit, Frog and Toad memes, and "cursed frogs." Cuter and able to be eaten, an army of frogs formed from yeast and flour is now the wholesome new face of the frog world.
"Oh man I LOVE my frog bread, it brings me so much joy, both through making it and through the final result," Tika—who posted a pair of herb-topped frog breads with the caption "SEROTONIN IS H E R E"—told VICE. "Making my frog bread was fun because creating things brings a sense of accomplishment and delight. The final result brings me joy because it’s a FROG! And I LOVE FROGS! And the shape is so round and cute!!"
According to Tika, whose tweet has gotten over 300,000 likes, people on Twitter like frog bread because it puts a spin on the lockdown trend of bread baking. "As well, frogs are super cute and a ton of people like them! Put both together and you get the absolute delight that is frog bread," they said.
When it comes to most breads, the metrics of success are a good bake, judged through an interior that's appropriately fluffy or a well-formed crust. To fix these things, should they go wrong, are rounds of troubleshooting and trial-and-error that can make you feel demoralized.
Frog bread, however, is not really about the perfect loaf; it is a goofy antidote to the serious sourdough posts. No frog bread looks the same, though they all feel similarly silly. Some versions of frog bread are wide and amorphous; some are puffy and overblown like a cartoon; others are flat like a Surinam toad. Some of them appear, technically, to be more deserving of a Paul Hollywood handshake than others, but the least technically successful ones might even yield the biggest laugh. No frog breads are really realistic.
No matter how you might judge the bake, each loaf of frog bread is a joy to behold, and the best of the internet is when people come together over something completely inane yet intrinsically wholesome. The times might be uncertain, but at least we have frog bread.